Two examples of how Salem's influential citizens become more "legalistic" in their pursuit of truth in "The Crucible"?
The evidence is quite clear at the onset of the play. Parris is more concerned about how his parish will see his weaknesses and the political wheels spinning against him than the spiritual well-being of his own daughter let alone his parish. He implores Abigail to be honest with him about her illicit affair with John Proctor. "Parris and Abigail have a tense conversation over poor Betty's unresponsive body about Parris' concerns that there are factions who would use this against him."
When the influential citizens arrive, John Proctor, Giles Corey, Thomas and Ann Putnam, and Rebecca and Francis Nurse, the stage is set for tension over legalities. John and Giles are old friends and yet Giles boasts that he has taken his friend to court over defamation of character and won damages, too. Nearly in the same breath, Thomas Putnam chimes in with the claim that his grandfather willed him land that was on Corey property. Giles responds with wanting to clap a writ on both John and Giles.
Later on, Judge Danforth is called in to sort the mess out in a court of law. However, the accused never has a chance to exonerate himself once he has been accused. The witch must confess or hang.
Corey hears from a witness that Putnam tells his daughter to accuse an elderly man of witchcraft in order to benefit from the forfeit of property. Corey dies in contempt of court to protect his source from Danforth.